Data from the US Department of Transport reveals that 74% of fatal vehicle accidents involve a truck, most occurring between noon and 3 pm. In fact, truck accidents are on the rise, with a 52% increase since 2009.
If you are involved in a truck accident, the steps that you take in the immediate aftermath are important. You want to ensure that everyone involved is safe and emergency services are informed. You also never know when you might need proof of what happened and who was responsible.
Here are seven steps that everyone should take in the aftermath of any truck accident.
18-wheelers are big and heavy vehicles; they travel with considerable momentum. As a result, vehicle accidents involving 18-wheelers often involve significant damages and injuries, with 68% of all fatalities involving passengers rather than the driver. It is imperative that the emergency services are on the scene as soon as possible after an accident occurs. The sooner you alert them to the accident, the sooner they will be able to attend.
Not only do you need 911 to deal with any injuries that might have occurred, but there is also a legal requirement to report vehicle accidents in many states, there are penalties for failing to do so. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Dial 911 as soon as you can after being in or witnessing an accident.
Check On Everyone Involved (Including Yourself)
If you are in a position to assess the other people involved in an accident and check them for injuries, you should do so. But before you do this, you need to be certain that you are uninjured and can move safely. If you suspect a neck or spine injury, you should try to remain still until emergency services arrive – this study found that the lumbosacral spine was the region most commonly affected in car accidents.
However, don’t remain where you are after an accident if you are in danger. For example, if your vehicle ends up on the wrong side of the road and won’t drive, you don’t want to stay inside.
You should apply this same thinking to the other crash victims. Anyone who can walk away from the wreckage should do so. Other more seriously injured victims should only be moved if necessary. Reassure them that the EMTs are on the way and stay with them if you can.
Document The Scene
Whether you are planning on filing a personal injury claim or not, you should document the scene. Documenting the scene properly will help your claim progress much faster than it would otherwise be able to. You never know what evidence might be decisive in court, should your accident end up there. Even if you aren’t planning on making a claim, you should still document the scene for your insurance provider.
Check Your Vehicle
Following any kind of vehicle accident, you should have your vehicle inspected for any signs of lasting damage. An otherwise roadworthy vehicle can easily become unsafe if it is damaged in a serious collision. Given the force with which an 18-wheeler is likely to crash, the chances of significant damage occurring are high – nearly 2 million drivers end up with permanent injuries.
Just as people can suffer internal damage with no external signs, the same can happen with your car. Just because everything appears ok on the outside doesn’t mean there isn’t severe internal damage. The only way to be certain is to have your vehicle checked over by a professional mechanic.
Watch What You Say
Anything you say in the aftermath of an accident can be used against you in court. It is usually best to remain completely silent unless there is a reason for you to talk. Lawyers and insurance companies can use seemingly innocuous statements against you in court. You don’t want to say or do anything that will undermine your case later. Even saying sorry can be interpreted as an acceptance of fault.
Consult A Truck Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one is injured by a truck accident, you might be able to claim compensation for any injuries. The average payout is between £3,000 and $75,000, but permanent injuries can lead to higher payouts.
To claim this compensation, you will need to file your case with a local court and potentially argue in front of a judge. A truck accident attorney like Brian White provides numerous services that will help your case along. These include:
- Ensuring the accident is investigated thoroughly
- Assisting in the gathering of any relevant evidence. This evidence includes photography and video documentation of the scene, as well as witness statements.
- Hiring any experts needed to provide specialist testimony and evaluate your claim.
- Engaging with other potentially hostile parties such as insurance companies and any at-fault parties involved in your accident.
- Handle all the court filings and other paperwork required.
Hiring an experienced and reputable truck accident attorney will ensure that your case progresses quickly and efficiently. Your attorney will also be able to want you of any potential pitfalls you might encounter along the way. Trying to navigate these murky waters without the assistance of an attorney is just asking for trouble.
While the majority of personal injury claims are settled out of court, you might have to argue in front of a jury. If your case does end up in a courtroom, you will want to have a lawyer on your side who can argue your case coherently and competently. A good lawyer will have done all the necessary preparation work beforehand, and they should know more or less what to expect from a trial.
Inform Your Insurance Provider
If you are involved in any vehicle accident, your insurer is going to want to know about it. Filing a claim with your insurer will establish a legal paper trail for your accident. If your case ends up in court, the conclusions of your insurance company could be important. Failing to inform your insurance provider about any serious collisions you are involved in could invalidate your policy. If you plan on pursuing a legal case, you want to have all your admin in order.
The steps you take in the immediate aftermath of any vehicle accident are important. Not only do you want to ensure that you and anyone else involved in the accident is safe, but you also want to ensure the scene is properly documented and recorded. If you take the necessary steps, you won’t have any trouble if you decide to take your case to court.